New Ohio State president 'disappointed' with B1G vote on fall sports
New Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson has been dealt quite the hand as she steps into her new role in Columbus. As she was preparing to take over the new job, the B1G was preparing for the biggest decision in the conference’s history.
On August 11, the B1G became the first conference at the Power 5 level to postpone the college football and fall sports season. It was a decision made in the best interest of the health and well-being of student-athletes at the 14 universities in the B1G.
That doesn’t mean everyone agreed with it, though. During the program All Sides with Ann Fisher, Johnson said she believed Ohio State had everything in place to move forward with a safe fall sports schedule.
“We were very careful to say this is not a cancellation, it’s a postponement,” Johnson said. “That decision was made Aug. 11. I voted not to postpone but to delay (and adjust) as we got more information. And we’ve gotten more information, we do understand that there are ways to make sure we’ve got a clean playing field and that’s what you want to make sure of.
“If you’re going to have contact sports, you have to make sure that individuals that are doing that are not infectious, and that they can play. I believe that we have the kind of protocols that will allow us to do that.”
Players, coaches, parents and fans were all disappointed to learn that the B1G voted to postpone. The lack of clarity and transparency from commissioner Kevin Warren and other presidents who made the call was especially frustrating.
Johnson says she was also upset with the outcome.
“I’m disappointed with the vote,” Johnson said. “It is what it is. So we’re going to move forward and continue to get more information so that we can make all of us comfortable as we look forward to starting sports that all our athletes can be safe. So that’s really what I’m focused on — the safety of our students, our faculty and staff, and this tremendous enterprise that we call the Ohio State University.”
But as frustrating and disappointing as the decision was, Johnson did acknowledge that health and safety is still at the forefront of the conversation. At the end of the day, that’s what is most important.
“I understand how painful and frustrating it is for players to have worked so hard to be at this place and this performance,” Johnson said. “But I have to step back and say also that we need to put safety first.”